We flew directly from the Canaries to the north, a short stop at home to pick up winter clothes and we were off to Kiruna, northern Sweden. Benny Modig runs a feeder close to Kiruna which attracts the rare Siberian Tit. We did tick the Siberian Tit in The Urals, but apparently the bird in The Urals was just outside the WP border. It’s dark in Kiruna this time of the year, and the sun just barely shows itself. In the very last light the nicely coloured Tit was there though.
We then drove west, five hour drive from Kiruna to Lofoten in the dark. We were still almost shocked by the difference in temperature and feeling from yesterday when we enjoyed Cream-coloured Coursers in the desert.
We were choosing between Lofoten and Tromsö. Advice from Håvard Eggen and Martin Eggen made us decide on Lofoten in the end. The Fjords around Grimsöysand hosts wintering Yellow-billed Loons every winter according to the Eggen brothers. Thanks guys!
The following day we started at dawn, searching for wintering Yellow-billed Loons. The first large loon we found eventually turned out to be a Common Loon though, and so was the second and the third … Finally, we found it, with its characteristic stance with the bill turned slightly upwards.
Lofoten is one spectacular place, usually the weather in winter is bad. We were lucky though with low winds and clear skies.
The sun barely shows itself.
On the way back, we decided to sleep in Abisko, on the Swedish side. Hoping for Northern Lights, no suck luck though. In the morning just as we were to jump into the car, we heard the Crows and the Magpies being agitated, the reason was a slumbering Hawkowl. We called Erik who was doing number two inside and he came running with his pants at the ankles. We showed the Owl to the Chinese and Indian tourists there to see the Northern Lights, they were all very excited.
One thought on “Winter is coming”
Since I was born in Kiruna, and started to birdwatch there when I was nine years old, this text made me extra glad to read!
Talking about owls, I must mention spring 1971. That was a year with CRAZY numbers of Lemmings, everywhere!!! I can easily recall the mornings when I woke up. I sat staring through my window before going to school and I counted Lemmings, running here, there and everywhere… They were everywhere in the town, on the yards, on playgrounds and around schools, just everywhere!!! The impact it made on me was tremendous, and I guess that spring had a great importance when it came to boosting my then fresh but growing interest for nature.
Those were the days…